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USDA takes more action to help farmers impacted by drought

September 16, 2012
Reinbeck Courier

John R. Whitaker, State Executive Director for USDA's Farm Service Agency announced that more action has been recently taken to continue to assist farmers that have been impacted by the drought. Changes include extending emergency grazing of Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acreage deadline to November 30th, two additional counties being approved to implement an Emergency Conservation Program (ECP) sign up, haying and grazing of cover crops, and others.

Whitaker announced an extension to the emergency grazing deadline of CRP acreage, which will be allowed on limited practices. The deadline is now November 30, 2012. Producers interested in emergency grazing must remove livestock no later than November 30th. Emergency haying on CRP acres was NOT extended past August 31st.

"Tama and Monroe counties have been added to the five counties that have been approved to hold a sign-up under ECP," said Whitaker. "Counties that have previously been approved to hold a sign up are: Audubon, Carroll, Crawford, Davis and Wapello."

Under ECP, farmers experiencing severe drought conditions may be eligible for cost-share assistance, if the damage is so severe that water available for livestock, orchards and vineyards has been reduced below normal to the extent that they cannot survive without additional water.

"The severity and ongoing drought conditions, has created the need for changes to Risk Management Agency (RMA) provisions. RMA will allow producers to hay or graze cover crops without forfeiting crop insurance eligibility on planted 2013 spring crops. This change is beneficial to livestock producers making forage and feed available this fall and winter. Producers should contact their crop insurance agent for more information," said Whitaker.

Due to natural disasters throughout Iowa, producers who have suffered major production and/or physical losses may be eligible for low interest emergency loans. Modifications will be made to the emergency loan program allowing loans for losses to feed and pasture to be made earlier in the season. Producers will no longer have to wait until the end of the production cycle to obtain a loan. This change will support producers who currently need assistance to help offset high production costs. In addition to Emergency Loans, FSA has a variety of other loan programs available to assist producers in returning to normal farming operations.

"Adding more flexibility to current program requirements will make much needed assistance more readily available to producers affected by disaster," said Whitaker. "Many of these changes will benefit livestock producers who are facing higher feed costs or are at risk of liquidating their herd due to the drought."

Contact your crop insurance agent for more information regarding special provisions to RMA insurance provisions. For more information on CRP, ECP or the emergency loan program, please contact your local county FSA office or go on-line to



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